Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

Barefoot Water Skiing in MEXICO!!

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

BAREFOOT WATER SKI DESTINATION – (MEXICO)

This was the first barefoot water ski destination trip ever and this is a trip you don’t want to miss in the future!!

After I did a clinic this past March in Mexico with Juan Carlos and Gustavo I knew I had to return!!  It was one of the best trips I had taken with awesome food, perfect weather and glass conditions every day…no lie!!

Our host Juan Carlos barefooting backwards

There isn’t a lot of Mexican barefooters (yet) so Juan Carlos invited me back down but asked if I could bring a few people with in order to help support the clinic.  We arranged a week in November, put a schedule of events together and organized a week of fun that included: Fly Boarding, barefooting, tourist trip to the town of Taxco, eating out and other local venues to see and explore.

I expressed to everyone that this trip would be a “relaxed barefoot clinic.”  This clinic wasn’t going to be pressed for time, we would start a bit later than usual, lunch wasn’t served till 3pm and we would enjoy the surroundings and live in the moment.  This is exactly how most Mexicans live and it was something I needed to learn and practice along with other busy businessmen.

I invited several people on this trip and the guys that decided to give it a go were Lee Stone, Don Stoppe, Glen Kinnear and Jimmy Stone.  My wife Lauren accompanied us and Juan Carlos’s wife Edith was so gracious to pick us all up from Mexico City airport.

The night or our arrival: L-R, Gus, Glen, Don, Juan, Jimmy, Keith & Lee

Here is how our schedule went:

Arrive in Mexico City on Nov. 10th, late morning or early afternoon.

Drive to Tequesquitengo on the 10th    (2 hours depending on traffic)

This trip is about the “experience, culture and relaxation.”  Nobody is in a hurry in Mexico.  Lunch is typically around 3pm, a siesta and late dinners similar to Europe.  Instruction will be from Keith St. Onge and four sets per day is not our priority, purpose or guaranteed.  This clinic will a two set or three set kind of clinic.  There will be plenty of skiing to do.  The sets may be slightly shorter or longer depending on the weather, physical ability and number of skiers.  Some days we may have seven skiers and other days we may have four or less.  I also want this trip to be fun and relaxing.  This will be a stress free and fun environment.

There will be internet/wifi available at Gustavo’s house, which will be one of the homes used for Lodging.

Nov. 11th

Wake up at 7am-ish Central Time

Eat breakfast, leave at 8am-ish (20min.) drive to site.  The ride is a great experience, seeing how people live off the land in Mexico.  Very poor area’s but amazing to witness.  Horses and donkeys are used to transport local crops.
For more info visit this link. http://www.worldbarefootcenter.com/barefootblog/barefoot-water-skiing-in-mexico

Put boat in the water and begin skiing at 9am or earlier or later.  One or two mornings we will do a Mexican style breakfast at the site.

Jimmy Stone enjoying his 1st run in Mexico

Lauren St.Onge relaxing while foot'n in Mexico

Don Stoppe foot'n with his sunglasses on.

Everyone skis two sets and we have a late lunch around 2-3pm, which is customary in Mexico

Everyone skis one set and we leave at 5pm or earlier or later.

The two homes used for lodging are on a beautiful lake that is very populated and busy.  We will not be skiing there.  The site we are skiing on will be private to us with no other motorboats. It has shorelines like our lakes in Florida.  No back wash and great for wind protection.  I can just about guarantee glassy conditions based on my first trip there.

At the end of the day Don pays the Mariachi Band to play some Mexican music for us.

Nov. 12th

Wake up at 7am or earlier and leave at 7:30 for breakfast at the lake.

Ski at 9am-ish

Lunch at 2-3pm

Leave at 5pm-ish

Pina coladas with fresh Pineapple & coconut milk (Rum optional)

Nov. 13th

Touring Day

9am – FlyBoarding

Lauren taught local Mexican lady how to water ski for the 1st time and Jimmy Stone enjoying the FlyBoarding in the back ground!

Don Stoppe getting ready for a rib shot, ouch!

Visit local Pyramids, and then drive to the city of Taxco, which is known for their Silver mining.  Silver can be found very reasonable here.  I explain this town like Greece without the ocean.  The city is built on the side of a mountain overlooking the valley below. Beautiful!

The crew visiting the local Pyramids

Mexican barefoot water skier Juan Carlos giving us the tour of the Pyramids

Nov. 14th

Wake up at 7am or early or later

Eat breakfast

Leave at 8am

Ski at 9am

Lunch 2-3pm

Leave at 5-ish

Pick up Coco’s to hydrate and visit the Estate of wealthy Cane Sugar owner.  Dinner was amazing with a beautiful atmosphere!

Awesome Dinner at the old sugar cane factory

Glen Kinnear loving the warm weather!!

Nov. 15th

Wake up at 7am

Leave at 7:30am

Eat breakfast at the lake at 8am

Ski at 9am – 9:30am

Lunch at 2-3pm

Finish at 5pm-ish

Pure glass everyday!!

Lee Stone striking a pose after enjoying a relaxing message!

Nov. 16th

Fly home early afternoon or evening

Time to head home

To say the least this trip was well organized and a compete SUCCESS!!  We plan on doing this trip again in November and possibly twice a year if we have the demand.  So, if you are interested please contact the World Barefoot Center, inquire and put your name on the list.

Private instructor: Keith St. Onge

Keith St. Onge coaching in Mexico

Thank you Gustavo for the amazing dinner on your terrace over looking the lake!!

Gustavo Barefoot water skiing backwards in Mexico

After the clinic in Tequesquitengo we said our good byes to Lee, Jim, Don and Glen.  Lauren and I along with Gustavo and his girlfriend Fernanda drove two hours South to Acapulco.  We met Juan Carlos and his wife Edith there.  The plan was to search for a barefoot paradise on one of the local lagoons.  We heard about some great places there and thought it would be a great place to host a clinic in the future.

We went up and down the coast and found many lagoons that would work out but the wind always blows off the ocean around noon.  This would hinder our plan to barefoot all day.  We then found a spot that has wakeboard boats and my next favorite thing to do on the water after barefoot water skiing is wake surfing.  It’s so fun because it’s slow pace, the falls don’t hurt, smooth water is not required and you can load the boat up with people.

My plan is to barefoot water ski in the morning, have lunch and then wake surf in the afternoon.  If this is something you want to be a part of please contact the World Barefoot Center or private message me on FaceBook.  I’m looking for four people that would be interested in this trip.

Here is one of the places we stayed at, which is only a ten minute drive from the site.

Lauren St. Onge relaxing in the infinity pool in Acapulco

Keith St. Onge taking it all in while in Acapulco Mexico

By: Keith St.Onge

My journey back to Kiwi-Land!!!

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

As most of you know, this January I returned to my homeland, New Zealand, for a quick vacation to catch up with family and friends (and a little bit of skiing). After 14 months in the United States, I was shocked at how climatized I had become to the American (and by American I mean mainly “Southern”) culture, without even realizing it. Small things that had once seemed bizarre to me, things like tax not being included in the price displayed, the average vehicle being the size of a small elephant, Police with guns (Not allowed in NZ!!!), and 400lb people wedging themselves into little carts to buzz around Walmart, had become a usual sight for me, and the change when I got home was unreal!!

Walking through the shopping mall when I was home, I was suddenly immersed back into familiar slang, food, and fashion. I know it sounds silly but it really is that obvious! People walking past in Stubbies, a singlet, and jandals (Roughly translated, that would be short, thigh length shorts used for playing rugby, a beater/tank top, and flip flops), or all the cafes, wedged between every second or third shop, with folks sitting outside stopping for a quick coffee and “sammy” (Sandwich) on their lunch break.

Walking through Wellington city in the late afternoon/evening it was just nice to see people finishing their days at work or Uni (college) sitting down in parks, or big open areas of grass, just unwinding. A group of young guys throwing a rugby ball or Frisbee around, or a few stranglers with their noses in books, or some people just there to people watch, as everyone made their commute home, either by foot, or what seemed like the second most popular mode of transport – skateboard. I guess the only place I’ve really seen with a similar culture like this in my time in the States would be San Fran.

Anyway, that’s enough about culture. I was only home a matter of hours before I was reminded as to what made Florida so appealing. The infamous Wellington winds started gusting up, turning our lake into something similar to the ocean, with the temperature being cold enough for a Floridian local to dress in snow gear. In actual fact, it was still around 60-65 degrees – but that’s cold enough!!! Luckily the winds gave up and we were granted beautiful water, sadly the not-so-warmness hung around. One big thing about New Zealand that you have to be really careful about, apart from speed cameras, is the sun. There is a big hole in the ozone above New Zealand, and it makes a big difference!! In Florida you can happily sit out in the sun for 3 hours – unless your last name is Small or St. Onge -and you may get a little pink, but you won’t notice it too much. In New Zealand however, if you don’t slop that sunscreen on, those 3 hours will nuke you!! I made that mistake the second day I was back, falling asleep in the warm sun for only two hours in nothing but shorts, and after my entire body shedding a layer or so of skin, six weeks later, and I am still rocking distinctive tan lines halfway up my legs!!

As far as the quality of skiing goes in New Zealand, I will admit we are a little behind the times, with anyone who can do a Front to Back automatically advancing to being one of the best trickers in the country. And with fairness – that front to back is a sucker to learn!!! But these days, we’re starting to catch up with the rest of the world, with more kiwis travelling out to Florida to ski with us at the World Barefoot Center and taking what they learn home, modern coaching techniques have been introduced and its great to see a group of young kids coming up, learning the correct way. What was once just another ski school, the name barely memorable only a couple of years ago, has now become an icon for barefooting back in New Zealand, helped greatly with today’s social media, and more importantly, the results of the skiers that come back after weeks/months of training at the school!!!

So, even though there are some major differences dividing these two countries from one another, there is also one big similarity – the passion for barefoot water skiing, and the huge sense of family you get from anyone else involved in this great sport, no matter where you are on the planet. The greatest thing I think I noticed while in New Zealand was the general level of skiing, as us kiwis move into the modern era of footing, all thanks to what’s been going on here at the school. As far as myself goes, the journey I have taken personally here at the ski school has been a life changing one, with life-lasting friendships being formed, finding a second family, a second home, and a whole new platform for my skiing.

And as much as I have loved every minute of this trip….it’s always nice to go home :)

– Ben Groen, New Zealand